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On May 24, 2018 United Way with its host sponsors Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance and Aerotropolis Atlanta CID conducted the inaugural SPARK Prize event for South Fulton. The SPARK Prize, a take-off of the TV show Shark Tank, awards prizes for new and creative ways to resolve or minimize human services issues. The South Fulton prize was instituted to generate creative and innovative ideas to specifically address financial stability for families, affordable housing and high school/college career readiness.

Leading up to the event, 35 applicants entered the contest. Ultimately the applicants were screened to identify 5 finalists: The Showcase Group, 5 Strong Scholarship Foundation, Mobile Dental Clinic, Another Chance of Atlanta, Inc. and Serve Community.

The Showcase Group presented their Swag Bag to help teens returning to the community after detention. The Showcase group provides support, mentoring and equips the Swag Bag with a preprogrammed cell phone and basic supplies.

5 Strong Foundation provides scholarships to 5 African American students for their entire matriculation at an HBCU. In addition, counselors provide tutoring, mentoring and other support for the entire time the students are in college.

The Mobile Dental Clinic provides free dental services throughout the community to those without insurance, are homebound or lack resources to access dental care. Poor dental health leads to other major diseases and ailments if left untreated.

Another Chance of Atlanta offered their Pavilion 48 service to the community at the Pavilion Apartments. The service includes an after school program, WE read program and other resources. Pavilion 48 brings the solution to where it’s needed.

Serve Community provides a teen lifestyle clinic for high school students. The clinic helps students with college/career preparation, career options including college and vocational choices, community development and life skills.

Each of the 5 finalist pitched their idea to a panel of judges. The judges represented business and enterprise in South Fulton. The esteemed judges included Jessica Davis, City of Fairburn; Rene Diaz, President Diaz Foods; Cedric Matheny, Broker T Dallas Smith; Carmenlita Scott, President of the ATL Airport Chamber; and Cookie Smoak, President of the ATL Airport District.

The judges had a difficult task to identify a single entity to take home the $15,000 prize. KUDOs to them for their time and deliberation. By the end of the event, there were only winners. However, Serve Community, represented by Helena Kelleese took home the top prize. The remaining 4 finalists each received $1,000.

United Way and the Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance/Aerotropolis Atlanta CID applaud the finalists and the South Fulton community. A special thank you to our other sponsors Duke Realty, Chick-fi-A, Kupcakerie, Atlanta Lifestyle Publications, ATL Airport Publications, NovaTech, the Porsche Foxx Morning Show and United Way Gifts in Kind.